A recent study, compared 28 healthy women with 28 with PCOS showing that women with PCOS had a decrease in both insulin and non-insulin glucose controlling mechanisms. PCOS participants with the most insulin resistance at the start of the trial had results that showed a decline in their ability to compensate with non-insulin glucose controlling mechanisms.
Dr. Ricardo Azziz, reproductive endocrinologist and PCOS expert at Georgia Regents University, states, "Women with PCOS who have the highest levels of insulin resistance, the greatest difficulty controlling their sugar and the highest risk for diabetes, appear to have a double defect in how glucose is controlled, which affects both the mechanisms that use insulin and those that do not." The study measured visceral and subcutaneous fat distribution, which predicted the degree of insulin and non-insulin glucose control, respectively.
"If the fat is not as sensitive to insulin, that obviously means blood sugar levels, and probably fat and cholesterol levels as well, increase and the pancreas responds by producing more insulin," Azziz said. "Fat abnormalities can have a tremendous impact on how we feel and how we function."
In the future, the researchers want to construct a study that includes understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in how PCOS affects glucose usage.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2013; DOI: 10.1210/jc.2012-2937